In the Advance's case, the original design used batteries and had a terrible screen in anything other than overhead fluorescent lights. It was nearly impossible to see it in most any normal light source. Luckily I played mine at work on breaks so I had that light most of the time. Thankfully the original Nintendo DS (it in its own post) had good backwards compatibility which helped make using the system for its first year or so worthwhile until the good stuff came out.
The Advance, like the DS and DSi after it had Right Shoulder Button Decay Syndrome. Luckily hotfixing the Advance was easy enough to do. Unscrew it, put some paper on the button and it can then push the contact down properly. Or you could just use the Game Boy Player on the Gamecube. Or.. emulation which could be used to make Fire Emblem fun instead of abusive.
I bought my Advance to play Advance Wars and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. I don't regret it in spite of it's flaws.
Let's see what I have, eh?
Advance Wars 1-2 are the amazing turn based war games, with 2 being my favorite game on the platform. Breath of Fire 1 and 2 are ports of SNES JRPGs. Not bad, but not amazing. And 2 locked up in the middle of a 2 hour plus dungeon with no way to do anything other than go back and redo the WHOLE THING and hope it wouldn't lock up again. No. Capcom Classics is a collection of NES Capcom games that needed some allowances to being on a portable. The Castlevania games are of the "Metroidvania" exploration/action/RPG style. Defender of the Crown is an excellent remake of the C64 and Amiga classic. Eye of the Beholder is a terrible remake of the Dungeon Master clone. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a kind of sucky sort of sequel to the PS1 classic. Fire Emblem is the first English language game released of that venerable series. And is designed to be mean and hate you. Fire Pro Wrestling I never much got to grips with. Golden Sun is an ok JRPG from the makers of the Shining series. Kim Possible 3 is a great little platform game starring my personal hero, Ron Stoppable.
Konami Arcade Advanced is a collection of classic Konami arcade classics including TIME PILOT. The problem is some of them run a touch slow. Apparently there is a graphics enhanced mode I never knew about. Lord of the Rings Two Towers is an ok action RPG. Mario Golf was a quite fun Golfing RPG. Mario & Luigi was a normal RPG in the Mario RPG style. Mario vs Donkey Kong was a fun little action puzzle platformer. Metroid Zero Mission was an AMAZING remake of the original NES Metroid. Metroid Fusion was a decent classic gameplay Metroid. Phantasy Star Collection was a somewhat shoddy port of the first 3 Phantasy Star games. Playable, but very little allowances made to being a portable game. And a couple of bugs in the SMS original. Pokemon Sapphire is.. well the Pokeymans. The magic of the Game Boy original was gone, and I skipped a generation. Rebelstar Tactical Command was a good SRPG made by the original X Com creators. Shining Force was a good remake of the Genesis SRPG. Shining Soul 1-2 were ok action RPGs with one of them not available in the US. Super Robot Taisen 1-2 are the excellent Mecha SRPG games from a series that usually used mechs from Anime.
Robotech is a decent enough SHMUP game with 2 gameplay styles. Tactics Ogre is a fatally flawed SRPG with enemies that take forever to hurt who then heal themselves back up to maximum, turning it into a mega slog. Tales of Phantasia is an interesting failure of a JRPG. Tron Killer App is an ok isometric action game with the original arcade Tron games on it as a bonus. Wario Ware is a clever little collection of mini games. Wolfenstein 3d is.. Wolf 3d in your pocket. With no allowances for being on a portable system. Zone of the Enders Fist of Mars is a SRPG with an option for action based combat resolution made by the Super Robot Taisen people. Wing Commander Prophecy is an ok port of the Windows 98 era action sim. (Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 is mentioned in the Dragon Quest post.)
But the GBA had it's own dongle accessory so you could put a GB Player on your Gamecube then putting an E Reader dongle on that for maximum silly. See the E Reader was a digital card reader. You could use it to scan trading cards to play mini games or even multiple cards to play NES titles! There were also goodies and bonus levels for some of the NES and SNES games that got dedicated ports to the GBA. I got my E Reader on clearance, and most of the games on the cheap.
Most of the cards I have are for very early "Black Box" NES games. The Joust clone Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong and DK3 (unfairly maligned by many), Excitebike the classic racing game with a construction mode, and the others. Most of these titles were pretty primitive to begin with and time has not been very kind to Ice Climber, Clu Clu Land, Mario Bros, Pinball, and especially Urban Champion. But under 5 bucks a game beats the 25-30 the original US cartridge versions cost for the NES in 85-88 when they were largely available.
And that's my Game Boy Advance collection. It was a flawed but fun system with many good games or almost good games released in between all the kid show licensed drek that always infests Nintendo systems.